A TEAM of national radio journalists has experienced at first hand life as a seasonal worker in Herefordshire.

Radio 4’s Farming Today team spent four days at AJ & CI Snell in Harewood End, living the same life as thousands of Eastern European fruit pickers who visit the county to work each year.

“We’ve learned a lot during our time here and have tried to cover every aspect of life as a seasonal agricultural worker,” said the show’s producer, Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

“You learn that the supermarket demands are very specific regarding the quality of the fruit. The workers here also seem to enjoy themselves.

“The facilities for them are very good. They have internet access and other social areas. It’s certainly not as bad as we thought it would be.”

Mr Poyntz-Roberts was one of a team of five who shared an on-site caravan and lived the same life as the 250 Bulgarian and Romanian employees on the farm.

They were given training and set off to work picking raspberries and strawberries before packing them and shipping them to supermarkets around the country.

“We were up at about 5.30am and out picking fruit by 6.30am,” added Mr Poyntz-Roberts.

“The fruit that is picked here in the morning could be on the shelves locally that afternoon.

“The best, quickest pickers can earn between £60 and £80 a day. Each new worker is given a probationary period where they will be on the minimum wage.”

And it’s not only the fruit that is hand picked. Owner Anthony Snell says the workers are carefully selected and have the right work ethic.

“They are very hard working and that’s why we were pleased Radio 4 wanted to come here. We are proud of what we do,” he said.